God’s Plan for Christmas
Christmas foretold to the Patriarchs
Jacob – Part Two
It was nearly story time when Sue found Grampa Johnny sitting in the big chair in the living room with his Bible open. He was sitting quietly, but it seemed like his lips were moving,
“Grampa Johnny are you all right,” Sue asked.
A smile spread across his face, and he replied, “I sure am Sue. I was just praying about tonight’s story. I was asking God to help me make it clear for you children.”
“What are you going to tell us about tonight?”
“There are still some special things about Jacob that we haven’t talked about and I was going to share those.”
Grampa Johnny straightened himself up in his chair and laid his open Bible on the side table, “I’ll tell you what, let’s go help those two boys get the story time snack ready and then let’s get started okay?”
Sue said excitedly, “That sounds great Grampa!”
She took his hand and led him toward the kitchen where the smell of Mrs. Johnsons Christmas baking still filled the air.
Soon they all filed back into the living room with cookies and warm cider and settled into their places.
Grampa Johnny began, “Last night we talked about Jacob’s life of walking with God began, tonight we’re going to talk about some bits at the end of his life. It goes like this …”
* * *
Jacob had lived a long full life and had ten sons. Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Joseph, and Benjamin. You might remember the stories about Joseph and how his other brothers despised him and sold him into slavery and how he ended up in Egypt. The life of Joseph is a really fascinating one because he also developed a very strong relationship with God, but it was primarily born out of the adversity Joseph experienced as a slave and prisoner. Joseph spent many years in Pharaoh’s prison, but it was while he was in prison that God gave him the gift of interpreting dreams. It was that gift and Joseph’s incredible talent for administration that God used to move him from a prisoner to the second most powerful man in Egypt and responsible for guiding Egypt through one of the most devastating periods of drought in that period of time.
Now God used all of that to bring Jacob and the rest of his sons and their families down into Egypt where they would live for 400 hundred years until God would raise another mighty servant to lead his people.
But, before that happened, Joseph received permission from Pharaoh to bring his father and the rest of his family. Jacob took a bit of convincing because he was very old and he knew that God had promised the land of Canaan to his descendants. But, he also knew that if they stayed in Canaan with the drought, they would all likely die. Jacob gave in and allowed the move to Egypt but not before he offered sacrifices at a place called Beersheba to the Lord, the God of his father Isaac. The Bible records this:
“During the night God spoke to him in a vision. “Jacob! Jacob!” he called. “Here I am,” Jacob replied. “I am God, the God of your father,” the voice said. “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make your family into a great nation. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring you back again. You will die in Egypt, but Joseph will be with you to close your eyes.” So Jacob left Beersheba, and his sons took him to Egypt. They carried him and their little ones and their wives in the wagons Pharaoh had provided for them. They also took all their livestock and all the personal belongings they had acquired in the land of Canaan. So Jacob and his entire family went to Egypt—”
Genesis 46:2-6 (NLT)
The Bible goes on to tell us that Jacob lived for several more years in what was called the land of Goshen. They were separated there from most of the Egyptians because they despised shepherds. At the end of Jacob’s life, he called all of this sons together to bless them—one by one. When he got to Judah, he said this in Genesis 49:10, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the One to whom it belongs, the One whom all nations will honor.”
This was a prophecy from God saying that Judah’s line would be a royal line and we know that King David was from the tribe of Judah and that the line would continue through the ages right down to Jesus. So, we can see that God was preparing for Christmas even in the midst of extreme upheaval for Jacob’s family. Tomorrow we’ll see how that progressed through the slavery of Jacob’s descendants and God’s call of Moses to help free them and bring them to the promised land.
* * *
Jon swallowed the big bite of cookie he was chewing and said, “That was really interesting, Grampa Johnny. God took the time to reassure Jacob that the move to Egypt was a good thing. Sometimes I get afraid of changes and want to know that I am doing the right thing. I guess staying close to God can really help my confidence in situations like that.”
Sue nodded, “I also think it was really cool that God also used him to predict something way off in the future like who Jesus the Messiah would be descended from. God took a lot of care with his Christmas preparations even though they took thousands of years to come about.”
Grampa Johnny smiled, “It kind of puts your mother’s and father’s Christmas preparations into perspective. When they do a lot of things to get everything in place so you can have a wonderful Christmas, it doesn’t seem like so much work when they ask you to help. Right, Stanley?”
Stanley kind of scowled, “Okay, I’ll be more cheerful about keeping my room clean, Grampa.”
Grampa Johnny chuckled and said, “That would certainly be a great place to start.”
God planned out the details of Jesus life like where He was going to be born when He would be born, who His parents were going to be just like he plans out our lives. He plans these things for us because He loves us and cares for us more than we will ever know. Thank God tonight for His infinite love. For loving us so much that He pays attention to the smallest details of our lives before we are even born.